Namaste, India…Saying Goodbye after 47 Days


We did it! 2,000 Kms through India to reach spectacular Himalayan views. Knowing we had completed another adventure, we were feeling damn good after our ten hour ride to Chandigarh.  We relived the challenges and accomplishments of our journey over Kingfisher and tandoori wings before crashing hard for the night.

Lacy: We left Manali expecting to ride half the distance to Chandigarh that morning and complete the remainder the following morning. We made the decision to start our ride at 5am so we could avoid as many near fatal incidents on the road as possible with the mind blowingly insane traffic here as well as lessen the impact of dust and diesel in our faces. We were incredibly impressed with ourselves when we pulled out of the hotel at 5am on the dot! I suppose that when given the proper motivation we can accomplish anything!! Early mornings are not normally our thing. There was no question we made the right choice as we flew out of town as one of the only vehicles on the road and had long stretches of being in fifth gear, when the condition of the road allowed. Stopping for a tea and omelette at 7:30 it was hard to comprehend how much ground we had easily covered already. I have never been more appreciative of American roads, infrastructure and rules of the road than after riding through India for 30+ days. Rob’s explanation of the roads will help you understand why.

Rob: Our last day on the bike was a long one.  At 5am a totally deserted road was awesome. We even made it through the dust bowl and tunnel from Hell again without incident. We decided that things were going so well that we might ride all the way to Chandigarh in this single day. Then it got hot, slow, crazy, dangerous, bumpy and dirty. Since we were back on a main 2 lane road, we had to adjust to a few new issues. Mainly, busses passing trucks on blind corners right into us. I lost count of how many double head on collisions we’ve avoided in total but 1/2 from the whole trip happened today. Remember that here, it’s the smaller vehicles responsibility to get out of the way should 2 trucks, busses, bulldozers or farm machinery decide its a good idea to pass one another, even it it takes up the road from one shoulder to the other. At one point I stared face first into twin busses coming straight at me, the outside bus having one of its double rear wheels hanging over the edge of my side of the road into thin air and a sheer drop off. The rough road and potholes (that resembled sun cups in the snow because they were just constant) were taking their toll on our butts and backs. It took over 10 hours with just a few quick rest stops for Chai and petrol to go 108 miles. This isn’t a very high average but it was actually quick for us today factoring in road and traffic conditions. My Father-in-Law is an official Iron Butt Rider who will cover 1000 miles in a 24 hour period. Back a few years, I covered 108 miles with my best friend Chris in a certain red Corvette convertible more times than we should talk about in a single hour. 108 miles for Lacy and I on this day over 10 grueling hours sucked the life force right out of us.

We had made it. No flat tires. No broken teeth. My riding bandana I use for dust/sun and the shirt I road most of the trip in are permanently tie-dye stained from oil and 10 kinds of dirt. I bought a great pair of Royal Enfield riding gloves that served me very well on this trip and are now a prized possession. We were both exhausted and battle worn by the time we handed back the keys to Sunam at Royal India Bikes. But, I was smiling because it truly was a ride of a lifetime for us.

Giz loves a 7 cent chai (tea) while riding the train

Lacy: After staying in a lot of crappy hotels along our journey so far (the hotels in Pooh and Tabo being the major exceptions) we decided it was time for an upgrade to properly celebrate surviving our Royal Enfield trek through the Himalayas. We pulled up to Maya Hotel in Chandigarh which we had scouted out earlier in the day as we took a break from the bike. I love how it’s common to look at a room before you reserve it. I double checked that before we spent $60, 3 times what we had been spending for the past month and a half, that it was indeed worth it.  It checked all the boxes and we took it! The bed was so comfortable, there were a few English channels on tv and it was very clean! We were feeling like a million bucks after a ten hour day of riding. A couple showers later we were down the block at a local pub toasting ourselves over a pitcher of Kingfisher beer and honestly the best wings we have ever had. Tandoori wings. Succulent, spicy and so good we returned the following night.

Having a full day to kill in Chandigarh before returning to Delhi I came to what seemed to be the most reasonable conclusion and pampered myself. I spent four delightful hours at the salon having my hair cut, a moisturizing treatment applied to combat the damage from the sun and arid conditions in the mountains and a spa manicure and pedicure complete with massages. It was divine and I was beginning to really feel that we were changing modes from ‘adventure’ to ‘vacation.’ We had discussed this the night before, actually, deciding that we should treat the remaining time in India as more of a vacation. I was off to a good start.

The next day, hopping on an early morning train (and later questioning why the heck we booked a train at this time..especially considering how comfortable our bed was and the delicious buffet breakfast included with the room that we missed!) We watched the remaining blue sky in Chandigarh slip away as it was replaced by the thick gray smog of Delhi. While chugging along I found a smoking deal on a far nicer hotel than we stayed in the first time around when we visited Delhi. With photos of a beautiful pool and an incredibly comfortable bed I immediately booked it. It only two seconds – without any exaggeration -of stepping out of the train at the Delhi station before Rob was being poked and prodded by people for reasons we couldn’t understand. Number one rule when traveling anywhere – don’t let anyone get too close to you or start touching you. That’s how you ‘lose’ things. I just started laughing at the sheer ridiculousness of how immediately wild the environment was as we stepped off the train. A hot tuk tuk ride later we arrived at our lovely hotel, a respite from the craziness, and it indeed lived up to our expectations.


I’m mid-laugh in this photo.  Stepping out of the train, the insanity that surrounds Delhi slapped us right in the face and I just had to laugh at it all.


Reentering the swarm of green and yellow Tuk Tuk bees.

We used our remaining three and half days in Delhi to indulge in some rest and relaxation. Playing cards and drinking beer in between cooling off in the pool from the 100 degree weather in Delhi. Rob learned a lot about cricket as he watched the World Cup games. I get a kick out of watching him enjoy the local sports when we travel. We did a little shopping, went to the National Gallery of Modern Art and did our best to try to avoid some of the hassles of Delhi. We were only somewhat successful as it’s damn near impossible not to have an encounter where someone is trying to take more money from you than you agreed upon. Unless of course you don’t leave the hotel grounds, which while beautiful, would have cost us an arm and a leg to eat there everyday. We treated ourselves to one meal at the hotel and went out for every other. There was A LOT of really tasty tandoori chicken ordered.  Come to think of it, we had tandoori chicken and beer (a necessary pairing) six days in a row – right up to our last meal.


We spent a lot of time at the hotel pool insulating ourselves from the city outside and cooling off from the 100 degree weather.

We both agreed that traveling India was harder and more challenging than hiking 800 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail in 2017.

Having had some really great moments, those we absolutely loved, we can’t say that we fell in love with India. Something that we were surprised by was how many different varieties of birds we encountered during our Himalayan ride. Everything from massive Griffon vultures the size of a big turkey to birds with tails two feet long. Our heads would spin and we would let out a gasp as they flew over our heads. This was really special for us because we loved being in an area where there was so much nature at our fingertips. Being surrounded by the Tibetan Buddhist temples and culture as we traveled further north was something else we cherished. Since our time in Nepal we have an affinity for this religion and customs even though we don’t understand most of it. Spending time with Tanzin we learned even more as he took us to his family temple and explained his family’s history to us. Wandering through the villages with the temples, Mani stones and prayer wheels was a favorite pastime. While neither of us have any desire to return to Delhi that doesn’t mean we wouldn’t return to India sometime in the future. India only gained its independence from the British in 1947 and is still a relatively young country. People here refer to that often and you can often feel that there is still a big growth stage going on as you see the division of its population related to language (English is the common language as people from different parts of the country often can’t communicate with one another through another common national language), religion, caste, dietary preferences and politics. There are heartbreaking levels of poverty here that really played with our emotions. Little kids and women with nursing babies approaching us in the cities with open hands asking for money. Shanty town and slums one after the other visible along the rail lines built in piles and piles of trash. Young children selling wares on the street as opposed to being in school. You never want to desensitize yourself to people, like you and me, looking for food, shelter and love in life. It’s difficult to wrap your mind and heart around how much of India’s population is living in these conditions.


Thank you National Gallery of Modern Art for pointing out the obvious 😉

It’s fitting that after another week of travel in Malaysia we land in America on July 4th because spending time in India has given me a greater appreciation and love for my own country.  That’s one of the many rewards of stepping outside of your comfort zone and diving into another culture. Perspective. I realized that a long time ago and each time I visit a new place I am blessed with first hand insights that somehow enrich my life.  Upon returning to the States we will embark upon a 3-4 week cross country road trip and explore our own backyard as we relocate from upstate New York to New Mexico. I have never felt more grateful for our the roads and, being obeyed more times than not, the related rules.  Seriously.  I am also thankful to have been raised as a woman in America. That’s not to say that we don’t still have major hurdles to overcome in the US, but I have never felt marginalized because of  and defined by my gender as distinctly as I did from the first day in India. Access to clean air. I took this for granted before visiting Delhi and learning what it feels like to be wrapped in such suffocating smog. For these and other reasons I’m returning home with greater appreciation for my home country.

We definitely earned some more R&R so on our way home so when making plans to return to the US this past week we booked ourselves a week on the tropical island of Langkawi. We didn’t make it to this particular island when traveling Malaysia last year. We never stopped speaking Bahasa (national language in Indonesia) to one another while traveling India so its only fitting we return to a country where that makes a difference. Bahasa Malay is very similar to that of Indonesia. Plus, we love the food there! I have been joking that I have put on the Indian Five. Something I made up to account for the bulge in my belly after indulging in fresh breads, curries and paneer for the past month and a half in India. Seems like a good idea to top it off with some Malaysian delicacies before heading home!


Sitting in the airport before boarding the plane to Malaysia I landed yet another incredible hotel deal.  This may be my best yet.  Our room overlooks this gorgeous infinity pool and Andaman Sea.  We quickly learned that alcohol is really cheap on this island because it’s all duty free.  Cheap drinks, beautiful hotel with jaw dropping view, another great breakfast buffet, scooter for the week and the freedom to explore a new place. We are happy!

Motorbiking Two Up In North India: Pinn Valley to Manali

Dhankar Gompa 

Rob shows his enthusiasm for the windy ascent as we stop for the above photo oP

Rob: Waking up from some of the hardest beds we’ve experienced here, but actually good coffee for a change, we set out to ride back down the river valley and up to the Monastery at Dharkar. The ride up the road is a Motorcyclist’s Dream. Very tight corners all in full acceleration and climbing mode. We both really appreciated the big push we received from all of the engine’s torque to throttle up the road as quickly as we did. It was a really fun ride on mostly well paved road. The view approaching the Monastery was another stunning setting. Once again, Buddha always has the best view in this part of the world.

A wide shot to show where the monastery resides in these Himalayan mountains.



Great view for lunch…

After lunch we made the very windy canyon-run back to Tabo as we retraced several steps reversing course to get to the remainder of our unfinished loop.


It was difficult to leave

In our little sitting area and bay windows of our Tabo hotel room we made ourselves a mini Himalayan Honeymoon with candles, a 2 course room service dinner complete with a fresh bottle of local apple based Arak.

The ride to Tabo was just as beautiful as I remembered it 💜

Between Tabo and Pooh we started riding mid-morning amidst a dark and cloudy sky. The low clouds were hiding the higher snow covered Himalayas which reminded Lacy of hiking the Annapurna Circuit last year and our peekaboo relationship with the high mountains then. The rain began, but stayed light. The temperature dropped quickly as we climbed once again toward Nako along the same route we had run before. Our target along the way was a point 2/3 of the way to Pooh where an “English Wine & Beer” shop was strategically placed. While we enjoyed a cold Godfather Strong Beer, we started a game of cards. After a bit, another patron advised us that we were not allowed to play cards here per the owners request. He was a young Indian guy who had a big friendly smile on his face in between rosy chubby cheeks. Just the kind of outgoing personality who might be playing a joke so I also smiled big and asked him if he was bullshitting me? He smiled back one more time, but said sincerely that we were in a very conservative tribal area and that cards were associated with gambling so really not allowed. I quickly made the connection with gambling and apologized to all not wanting to be disrespectful to the tavern owner and thanked him for his help. This is the first time we have come across this type of request so we will try to be more conscious where we play our long running Rummy games going forward.


We were having to grease the chain all the time due to the dirt and water (below) we were riding through.

In Pooh we stayed at Tanzin’s welcoming Om Hotel again and were invited to his family’s home for dinner that evening. His family lineage traces back 500+ years in written history and likely much longer in unwritten history to the area. Every generation of his family has a fully committed member to the Tibetan Buddhism faith, becoming a monk, and his family Temple is the center for Buddhists in the region. They have hosted visits from the Dalai Lama and have a tradition of having foreigner travelers in their home. Tanzin is following in the footsteps of his Father, Uncles and ancestors before them continuing this tradition of service and hospitality. The warmth and kindness we felt with him and his family has touched our hearts and souls forever. Thank you for so much, my Friend.


A great new friend, Tanzin 

After a great night in Pooh we decided to stay inside the old village area of Kalpa. It was one of Lacy’s favorite visits on our way up the Spiti Valley. The wood buildings in the Temple area are stunning and so beautifully crafted. She wanted one last chance to soak in the great spirit of this little mountain hamlet.

During our first visit to Kalpa we stayed on the road above the village.  This time we stayed in the village and enjoyed this stunning view from the hotels back balcony…


…where Giz enjoyed a cold one


We spent the afternoon walking through and admiring the village.


Departing Pooh towards Kalpa we left early to head through a very dangerous part of the road where we previously had a difficult time. It sure lived up to its reputation and continued to challenge every inch of my strength to keep us on two wheels. In one area of landslide clearing construction, we were lucky to have an ambulance be allowed as the first vehicle out of a dynamite blast area with several motorcycles tucked right in behind it including the Royal Beast and us.

After a nice night in Kalpa, we headed out early again due to the long route planned for the day. We made it all the way to Shoja that night. Losing altitude meant that the temp was coming up quickly to become quite hot and hazy in the middle of the day. By the afternoon, we began to climb out and through a different set of mountain roads than we had been in before as we cut west and north from our earlier path.


Kalpa is one of my favorite villages I have ever visited, anywhere.



Bike parking on the front porch of the hotel in Kalpa 

The landscape changed as we approached Shoja and became lush and green.

I made myself comfortable on the side of the road overlooking the river.  I figured we would be there for a hot couple of hours while the blasting occurred.  We were so lucky to sneak behind the ambulance and escape.

On these skinny mountain roads there is always the potential for danger, but also for drama. We came upon two 4x4s nosed together but slightly askew in the middle of the road. Either could back up just 3-4 meters or so to a wider part of the road and let one-another pass by. With a rising rock cliff face to our right and a sheer drop to thick jungle to our left we stopped behind them. There was no where for us or others who came upon them on either side to go. The two drivers were locked in a pissing contest with neither tiny ego giving in to help the situation. With cars lining up, the 4x4s drivers and passengers just got out of their trucks for a smoke and ignored each other as well as all the people they were blocking. This wasn’t the first nor would it be the last silly display we have had a front seat to watch in frustration. Weren’t the first few things we all learned in kindergarten about how to share, cooperate, be polite and have understanding? Two of the important Tibetan Buddhists Deities we have learned to respect and admire here are Wisdom and Compassion. The drivers here could spend some meditation time on these virtues. One driver finally gave into the pressure of the crowd and gave way for everyone to pass. Soon after, we were finally climbing higher again over the course of several hours into another set of foothills only to wind back down more single track roads to a lush valley below. This had to be one of our biggest losses, gains and losses again of elevation in a single day.

Scene of the crime.  Two egos on the road.  These kinds of displays are beyond any reasonable understanding.


After a long ten hour day of riding and sore buns we were still all smiles in Shoja

We left Shoja in the morning on our long and final push to Manali. We were covering more miles each day over the last four riding days than ever before spending 10 or more hours a day on our iron horse. A horse that has made us both very saddle sore from this last set of repetitive long rides. We spent the morning once again on one lane mountain roads. Approaching cars, trucks and busses were heart stopping moments. The road had just enough traffic that you had to avoid a head on collision at about every other corner. As much as I despise the significant overuse of horns here, I may have worn my own out in the last day and a half in every corner approach to be sure anyone knew we were coming around our side of a blind corner.


En route to Manali


Beware of everything when crossing bridges!

After we crossed the Beas River and turned the corner toward Manali, we entered an almost indescribable tunnel from hell. Dark and nearly black due to the layers of dirt and diesel soot covering the dim and mostly non-functional tunnel lights. Horns. Little cars passing us and trucks at speeds far faster than any headlights or vision could keep up with. Blind corners on a mountain road are nothing compared to blind corners inside of a solid rock tunnel. I tried to wipe the dust from my helmet visitor and only succeeded in smearing the oil soot across to mix with the dirt. To avoid being rear ended, I too had to take a deep breath and whip out and around several trucks and began following several cars way too close and way too fast for comfort. If one person crashed, we all would see in the center of a mountain. After finally exiting the tunnel after about ten minutes that felt like I was stuck in a two hour long horror movie, we came out to fresh clean air. No. Sorry. Didn’t happen. We came out into an industrial area of road construction that lasted for about 50 Km. It might have been the dustiest place in India we have driven through thus far. In the middle of it all, we got waved over to the side by a policeman standing in the middle of the road. He waved others over too so maybe I wasn’t singled out or maybe I was. He quickly requested my drivers license. An American license doesn’t cut it here so you need to have an International Driving Permit. $50 online to any number of companies will do it. Many people say that you don’t really need one but today I was certainly glad I had mine. No shake down. No mysterious ticket. No cash fine. Haan Ji (Yes Sir) which I acknowledged with one of my own and we were on our way again.

Do you know who drives the most aggressively of all vehicles? Busses. Overloaded and crowded busses. It makes me cringe to see so many young smiling faces peeking out and often waving to us while their bus barrels ahead way above the limits of its suspension, lights and especially brakes. Sadly, just a day after we went through the Kullu Valley area where we saw too many close calls, the newspapers announced that a local Kullu Valley bus had run off the road and plunged into a gorge, killing half and injuring the other half of the 90+ people on board. Sadder still is that this news won’t deter any of the reckless driving that will begin again tomorrow.

There were so many signs and companies promoting Paragliding and Rafting trips on the sides of the road. Such a juxtaposition to have the ice cold and clear snow melt river rapids cutting right through the middle of these major dust flats. When the dust, dirt and smog finally started to fall away from us as we climbed toward the tall mountains above Manali, we had to stop so we could wash out our eyes and take our first fresh breath in hours.

While getting back on the bike after a roadside omelet sandwich and chai stop, we heard a huge animal commotion. Suddenly a local dog ran out of a jungle area with a baby monkey in his mouth. We were a bit shocked and felt for the family of upset monkeys that shrieked out in vain after the dog.

We finally reached Manali which is a ski resort town in the winter and summer escape for world-wide trekkers, motorcyclists and just your average big city Indian tourist when the weather gets scorching down south and it is still cool and the snow is still on the tops of the mountains here. Accommodations and shopping range from below backpacker levels up to luxury Spa Hotels, street food to pricy restaurants and cheap imported trinkets up to expensive hand loomed shawls. Displayed for all to buy on the main Mall Bazaar Streets.


The road to the camp overlooking Manali

For us, we chose to stay another 2000ft higher than the town in a tent camp owned and run by Tanzin’s sister and her husband. The mountain road up to the camp was the biggest challenge of our week which meant it had gone totally off the charts in difficulty. My sister has a serious 4×4 Jeep that is built to climb about anything, trees included. I’m certain even she would find this road a challenge to climb. As we bounced and scratched our way up 30 sand and rock switchbacks in a high revving, wheel spinning first gear, I seriously wondered how we would ever get down this mountain again in a few days. When we arrived exhausted from the trip and covered in dust and oil, we quickly had cool beer and fried vegetable / cheese fritters to brighten our spirits and go along with an amazing view of the ski valley / town below and the bigger snow peaked mountains once again above us. We had completed 90% of our original loop plans with the exception of the still snowed-in pass separating Manali from Kaza by riding from about position 6 on the clock around counter-clockwise to 12 then all the way back around clockwise to 11. It was time to rest for two days. Sleep in as late as possible. Eat great organic vegetarian food. Drink cold beer and local grappa. Look out on the mountains, the city lights, full moon and the starry sky over the next few days and nights. Fitting with Tanzin’s family traits, Dashi, his sister was a truly gracious host and best of all, an amazing Chef. Every single thing we ate was perfectly Bien Cuit (well prepared – a big compliment to a true Chef). Our rest time was great while sleeping under the stars and napping in the sun. We soaked up every minute of it.


Everything Dashi served for meals was so incredibly delicious 


Upon leaving we received great assistance from a family descending the windy road the same day as ourselves. They gave Lacy and our gear a ride down while allowing me to bump and slide down the mountain somewhat safely.


Finding backgammon at a restaurant in old town Manali was such a huge score. We play all the time back home.


We love a good tuk tuk photo


Giz thought he could drive a tuk tuk 🤔

We spent two more days in the main town of Manali exploring & shopping alleyways and restaurants. I got a well needed massage and Lacy finally got a belated birthday present in the form of a custom made necklace and bracelet from a local jeweler. Beautiful.

Motorbiking Two Up In North India: Kaza to Pinn Valley

Himalayan sunset in Pinn Valley

Lacy: We attempted to leave Kaza the day after we rode to Langza, spending our first five hours of the day waiting at the one petrol station in town because they ran out the night before. Surprisingly, this didn’t really bother us. Having had such a great time enjoying the town of Kaza over the past few days, the surrounding scenery and the people in it we just hung out with one another and made the best of it. We queued up in line to top off the tank before heading to Pinn Valley. This was a record snow year and Kunzum Pass isn’t open yet. For every five people you ask you get seven responses as to when it will open. At 15,000+ft the Border Roads Organization who maintains the road says there is simply still too much snow to allow vehicles to pass through. That being the case we need to retrace our steps south as it’s the only other way out of this region. Fortunately, it’s a beautiful ride and we have a rear brake now so we can go some places we simply couldn’t ride before with the condition of the bike. There were moments of sheer panic and fear riding without a rear brake and being unable to have it fixed without traveling further to find a mechanic who had the right parts. Believe me, we tried. Thank god that’s over.

Somewhere around 5:30pm that same day I was waiting for Rob at the Travelers Shed while he checked again to see if the petrol delivery had arrived in town. We had given up waiting around at the station several hours prior, had lunch and checked back into the same hotel room we had just checked out of that morning. Being late afternoon and uncertain if petrol would even arrive today we decided to stay in Kaza one more night. It should be noted though that we witnessed another unbelievable display of impatience, public screaming, fighting and what is hard to ignore as anything but extremely rude behavior when the diesel delivery trucks arrived. People went nuts. There were two trucks full of diesel and plenty to go around, but people still needed to cut in front of one another, call each other liars about where they were in line and have the local police involved. While we were entertained, I was also disgusted. Other Indian tourists who were waiting for petrol like we were could also be seen wide-eyed in disbelief, especially the group of bikers. The motorcycles all needed petrol v. diesel and the riders had total comradery among one another versus the very selfish attitude seen by people in any diesel cars (the majority of cars in India), tourist vans, buses, 4x4s etc. Men screaming in women’s faces in public with a crowd of people watching. That would be a real scene in America. Here, it’s another day. I had this stupid idea that India, the birthplace of yoga, would be a place where people were genuinely kind and compassionate towards one another. Instead, I am seeing some of the worst parts of humanity as we travel through this country. Sometimes I wonder if it’s just a numbers game. India has a population of over ONE BILLION.  Think about that – it’s 1/7 of the entire world’s population. So, I wonder if that means we are just more prone to see the entire spectrum of human behavior here. Or maybe a combination of that and the areas of India we have been traveling in.

I love this photo because it shows scale.  You have the tiny village surrounded by  these beautiful massive mountains 

Anyway, I digress from meeting Rob at the Travelers Shed where I was killing time. He arrived with a tank full of petrol and happy as a clam, but unfortunately I had to relay that I wasn’t feeling well and it may have been the lassi I just drank. It only took as long as the walk to the bike for my stomach to cramp up and fear set in. On the short ride back to the hotel I told Rob I was nervous because my food poisoning in Shimla began with stomach cramps. Well, it only gets worse from here and I’ll spare you all the details, but it’s enough to say that this bout of poisoning was twice as bad as the first. I spent hours upon hours throwing up and Rob lovingly took care of me all night. We had hoped to go to Pinn Valley the next day, but I was completely wrecked and exhausted to the point that Rob went to the local clinic and got me medicine. I slept nearly the entire day only waking to drink water, have some crackers and tell Rob that I was sick and tired of all the bullshit we were dealing with in this country and ready to get back to where we have some cell connection and get the hell out of here. Yes, the mountains are beautiful, but sometimes I have felt like this country is trying to kill us. Two terrible doses of food poisoning, way too many creepy guys to count (oh yeah, and the time a guy groped me while being a mere doorway apart from his wife and two year old son before outright asking to have an affair with me that I didn’t even discuss in the blog) and dealing with exhausting amounts of instances of people trying to swindle us. I like to think I have a pretty thick skin, especially when traveling, but India, as expected I suppose, has been the most mentally, physically and emotionally taxing travel we have embarked on thus far.

One thing that makes the ride through Pinn Valley so unique is that you can really see the geological impact in the area.  Everywhere you turn are millions of years of rock pressed into layers forming shapes in the mountains.  I have never seen anything to this degree for such a long stretch before.

But, like I said, there are extremes on both sides. While the good seems to sometimes be overshadowed by the bad I would be remiss if I made it sound like we are only suffering on this trip, albeit there are more difficult times here than anywhere else we have been. The most genuine and heartfelt moments have been with the locals in each village or town we have visited. Often we find ourselves in the dining room of our Himalayan hotel for the evening chatting with the owner and/or guys that run the place for the season and having really great conversations. We have learned that many of them will leave their hometowns and come to this area to work for the short season, sometimes leaving their wife and children behind. It’s always men working and we have only had positive experiences as we have gotten to share a little of our own lives with them and vice versa. Specific moments standout of the guys who really helped me and Rob when he sprained his leg. Always kind and even though they didn’t speak English well and our Hindi consists of a handful of words there was never a frustrated moment between us. In the same city I was absolutely taken aback by the four guys who stopped everything they were doing that morning to assist us after the motorcycle incident. That experience, honestly, set an example for me on how I could be a better person, give unselfishly to others and make sure I make strangers in my home country feel as welcome and supported as they did us. I’m still in awe of their graciousness to this day. That alone could be enough good, right? But there is more. Tanzin, who I mentioned earlier, really made us feel welcome again in India right when we needed it. Having never met us before, but being a friend of the guy who rented us the bike, we instantly felt at home with him because of his warm hospitality, great conversation and sincere interest in spending time with us while we were in Pooh. Again, the universe put us together with someone to lift our spirits right when we needed it. He too gave me insight as to how much of a difference small gestures can make to someone who is a foreigner in your home country. Rob and I both agreed that he is a really special person. There have been countless other moments where we have met people along our travels that made our hearts happy – oftentimes just when we needed a ‘pick me up’. The people we have met, well, you guessed it, have been at both extremes. And I am incredibly thankful for each positive interaction along the way that helped offset the ones that made me want to pack my bags and go.

Always riding on the edge of these mountains…makes for great views

The scenery of course is the creme de la creme and why we made this journey halfway across the world. Frolicking in the Himalayas this summer has been very fulfilling. Rob and I are travelers, adventure seekers. Not tourists. There is a big difference between the two because we don’t see ourselves as being on vacation. Travel and exploration is a lifestyle choice we have made at the expense of other luxuries we use to enjoy on a daily basis.

Again, in this photo, you can see a village dwarfed by the mountains.  The mountain also displays layers and formations from its violent history. 

Thank god, after a full day of rest in Kaza, I was ready to head to Pinn Valley. Well, more ready than not. The road was quite bumpy and each bump initiated a pain in my stomach where it was still healing from intense cramps the past day and a half. The ride was pretty uncomfortable and I’ll admit I wasn’t in the best mood, but yet again, the mountains and scenery I was surrounded by took me out of my own and head and body and into a state of wonder. By the time we settled into our place for the evening in Mud, the last village in Pinn Valley, had some lunch and rested a while I was back to myself. An evening of playing cards in the dining room and getting to know the guys who ran the place was just what the doctor ordered. Not even the mouse that decided to join us in our room that night was a bother. Actually, his waking me up gave me the opportunity to step outside at 3am and see the stars and the Milky Way in the most magnificent way.  Being such a small village tucked away at the end of the valley it is soooo dark in Mud and made for perhaps the best star viewing of the entire trip.

Rob: On any long trek be it backpacking, car road trip or a motorcycle trip, one of my goals is to never look behind me and always continue moving forward no matter how difficult the journey has been to that point. At Kaza, we reached the top of the loop we had been planning for and battling to reach for the last 4 weeks. Unfortunately, for us and many others, the mountain pass that would take us out the opposite side of the Spiti Valley has not opened yet and is still buried under 20+ feet of snow and ice. This means for us to complete as much of our Spiti Valley Loop as possible, we would have to now backtrack from Kaza and make our way up the opposite side of our planned circular loop. Our first stop would actually be another day trip to a perpendicular valley named after the Pinn River.

It was more of a ride for a day in and a day out, stopping for the night at the end point of a long narrow river valley that dead ended into a spectacular view of high mountains and mini glaciers converging on the little town of Mud (pronounced “mood”). The road was once again mostly a bone and teeth rattling single lane that had never in its life been more than rocks pounded into dirt and clay.

Another village in Pinn Valley

The ride along the wide flat river was captivating. One of the things I find most fascinating about the high altitude river valleys is the rivers themselves. Let’s call them “weaving rivers” for fun. They are wide and flat at this time of the season. What happens is that they hit little diversions on a flat plane to split the main flow apart. Sometimes into 5-6 different streams. As they make their individual way down the wide riverbeds of rounded stones and silt, they split apart, re-converge, cause one another to change course, make “X”s, “Y”s forwards and backwards often braiding themselves together and then apart again. As you ride along side these natural weaving water sculptures they can hold your attention for hours.

All across Asia and in the subcontinent of India terracing along the river valley hillsides can be simply functional for farming or artistic and beautifully laid out by a combination of manmade and natural contours of the land. I know in some places that rice fields are sectioned by family or land ownership and have remained in spider web patterns for hundreds of years. Here in Pinn Valley we see these paisley or amoeba shaped terraces alongside the rivers just outside the villages and wonder what gives them their random yet artfully puzzled together looking shapes. Is it heritage, tradition of the region, family ownership or are they simply divided by the maximum possible irrigation capacity??

When we reached Mud, I realized why people trekked so far out into this oneway river valley. The view was pretty amazing. The tea and hospitality at our very simple accommodation was very welcomed after another long day on the bike. Everything was quaint but very, very basic as you could tell this little village was expanding from being historically shepherding and farming to 5-6 additional Homestay locations for travelers spending the night like us. Even the little mouse that futilely searched our room for food for several hours in the middle of the night seemed to be par for my expectations in Mud so I didn’t really mind. Although she truly took it in stride, Lacy wasn’t very happy that the mouse seemed to keep popping up on her nightstand. I would have been too, but he seemed to leave my side of the room alone.

Leaving the little village in the morning, we saw a small herd of the black and white furry Cow / Yak hybrid Chur animals being lead through town. I thought to myself that if I was a Chur in my next life, this wouldn’t be a bad place to live.

Leaving Mud.  I like this photo because there are stacks of bricks all around Rob.  No matter where we have been in India they are always making bricks and piling them on the side of the road or in trucks.  This photo captures a little bit of everything – Rob on the bike, the scenery, the unpaved road, and the constant presence of bricks.


Motorbiking Two Up In North India: Kaza to Langza / Komik / Hikkam


Enjoying tea while looking out over the mountains in Langza.  One of my favorite moments of the entire trip. I had one of those moments today when you wonder why you didn’t do something sooner as I began using the timer on the camera. The scenery touched my heart in such a way that I couldn’t wait to get as many family photos as possible. We will be framing this one.

Kaza is the town sitting on the flat land to the left of the river surrounded by this stunning scenery.

Rob: More terrible instant coffee this morning. We are going to have to fly home through Rome to get a proper Cappuccino in the not too distant future.

img_8340The sun was out. We geared up for cooler weather at a high altitude and were rewarded with one of our best rides ever!!  Lacy says this was THE BEST ride of the entire Indian trip.

I love the hues of yellow, brown and red in the foreground of desert landscape.  There were so many animals grazing in this one area!

The village of Langza

We left Kaza which is at 12,000ft plus and climbed and climbed and climbed up winding roads that split several high canyons and after about 50 minutes we plateaued onto a wide high meadow. The little village of Langza with its giant Buddha statue overlooking the town and the valley was in the distance. Himalayan mountains surrounded us on all 4 sides. We were maybe getting close to 14,000ft and still staring straight up at the full breadth and range of the mountains at this vantage point. Usually we have views through canyons or valleys up to the biggest mountains but today we felt closer to everything because we could see wide portions of the range and multiple layers of mountains as far as you could see in any direction. We were on peaks of the foothills versus within them and it made all the difference.

Somebody pinch me

On the way to Komik, which is the highest Himalayan village reachable by motorcycle, we came across meadows full of sheep. Lots of them. Then fuzzy goats, the furriest mules you have ever seen and the mixed breed high altitude Yak Cows, Chur.

Oh, this road💙

The road was very rough again of course and a bit more technical than previously because of the tight switchbacks, water crossings, erosion and the simple fact that these were seasonal summer dirt roads, at best, mostly used by 4×4 tractors as a way of living, work, travel and pretty much everything up here for the 3 villages we would visit today.img_2584

Riding of the edges of these mountains


My iPhone told me we were at 15,200 ft as we played with the timer on Lacy’s camera to try and take a pic of us and the bike. We motored on to Hikkam and stopped for tea before making the ride back down. Now on a different road, we could see Kaza straight down a very narrow canyon some 3,000 ft far below us. The downward roller coaster road view was a bit ominous and we took a gutcheck moment to be sure we were ready to go down. Thankfully, with the repaired brakes and the road having lots of long slow switchbacks, it made the gravel road down quite manageable. It took us over 30 minutes but we let the bike do the work and coasted down in second gear almost all the way.

Buddha has got the best view in Langza


Today was a truly epic ride. We both love the mountains and to spend a whole day so high in these mountains was very spiritual and amazing to see the sparkle in Lacy’s eyes.

Lacy: We achieved the pinnacle of our India adventure today – riding to 15,000 plus feet and witnessing the sheer magnificence of the Himalayas stretching across the sky. Larger than life. This was the best view to date and for me, a dream come true. A dream that manifested nearly six years ago when I lived in Kathmandu and saw the Himalayan mountains for the first time dangling in the sky in the distance. I could hardly believe how high up those mountains seemed from the Nepalese valley I resided in. I was in awe and knew that I needed to get closer to them.


Last year, as we hiked the Annapurna Circuit through the clouds of monsoon season, I was afforded glimpses of snow covered peaks reaching 20,000+ ft above sea level. Each time I was like a little kid unwrapping a gift. Excitement coursing through my body and a desire for more ignited. This year, riding through the Himalayas of Northern India, we have had a front row seat to the unobstructed beauty of these towering peaks. Rob and I have always shared a love for the mountains. We were married on top of a mountain, hiked thousands of miles up and down numerous peaks and volcanoes across the world and on our latest journey set off on a very challenging ride on one of the worlds most ‘treacherous roads’. All for that heart and soul fulfillment that we feel when we are reminded just how tiny we are in this vast world. Staring up at dramatic cliffs, standing in valleys engulfed by giants and winding through canyon roads at 15,000 feet help you keep perspective in this increasingly fast paced and crazy world where it’s increasingly easy to just go through the motions.

Another glass of tea while looking out over Hikkam

Thank you timer!

Our travels in India have been a mixed bag and every time I began to feel defeated or sad about the happenings in this country it has been the mountains that have brought me peace and helped me find my center again. We met two local couples riding on Royal Enfields in The Travelers Shed (a hotel and restaurant in Kaza that has the only WiFi connection, weak and unreliable as it is) that asked us how our travels in India have been. When I responded that it’s been a little up and down they said that India is a country of extremes. Roads, people, weather etc are either extremely good or bad. I couldn’t debate that. And the more I think about it, it is the best way to describe what we have experienced here. We have run across some really terrible people here who are intent on trying to cheat and mislead us. Just when we are beyond frustrated and want to say “Fuck this country” we are blessed to have someone like Tanzin come into our lives and warm our hearts back up. When we arrived in Pooh and Tanzin welcomed us as friends into his beautiful hotel it was exactly what we needed as two weary travelers. We had just spent eleven days off the bike in Sangla trying to heal Rob’s sprained ankle. The ankle he sprained because the bike we rented lost its rear brakes just two days after renting it. Believe me, that everyone in India who has asked how much we paid to rent our bike (and everyone asks. Locals always want to know what you paid for your rental, the shawl you bought in market, and what your house back home costs. There are no boundaries when it comes to asking about money and it’s honestly a little annoying) and readily informed us that we overpaid. We were willing to pay a little more for a bike, for the convenience of arranging it overseas, easy pickup in Chandigarh and the knowledge that it is a nearly new bike and would be in great condition for a challenging ride. This we were assured of.

We had lunch in Komic…and more tea, of course

It’s hard to explain the level of disappointment and anger I experienced realizing that the rear brake line was compromised in a way we could not have damaged in two days of riding. I am fiercely protective of Rob and the fact that he was injured because of the bike being in less than promised – and dangerous – condition puts me in Mama Bear mode. So our time in Sangla, for various reasons, really took the vibe of our trip down a notch. Because Rob was injured I was out and about on my own a lot and grew really tired of all the stares and attention I was getting as a solo white female. By the time we left Sangla I didn’t even want to leave the hotel. The hotel where we experienced half a dozen traveling men walking into our room to try and sneak a peek of me undressing or what not. I was becoming exhausted by this country by the time we reached Pooh and it was Tanzin’s genuine heart and hospitality that gave Rob and I the strength for further travel. I could go on and on about the good and bad we have encountered or how India is certainly the most challenging country we have explored, but what I want to convey is that it was all worth it to see these mountains today spanning across North India.  Today, this ride, these views, being here with my best friend and husband is a day I will not soon forget.


We took this road down to Kaza from Hikkam.  Switchback after switchback descending 3,000ft.

Motorbiking Two Up In North India: Kaza to Key Gompa and Kibber

Key Monastery

For a little perspective, that is Key Monastery in the top right of photo.

Our one and only snowy Himalayan day

Rob: We woke to grey clouds filling the big windows of our room and I wondered if it was snowing on top of the mountains visible to the north.

More terrible coffee again this morning,  but good masala omelets and toast with real butter at the hotel helped it go down better. One of the things you can count on as a luxury for so many travelers in far NW India is that the butter is good and plentiful.

Cold. My hands. My face. We had bundled up the rest of us pretty well but we were only 15 minutes into our ride today and I wished for the heated grips of my BMW Adventure versus the vibrating wide spread handlebars and the cold wind today.

It wasn’t a far ride to the village of Key but the snow began to fall and was quite steady as we reached the Monastery. The entire Temple complex covered an individual rock peak set at the foot of a mountain. The ride up to it was pretty photogenic. Once there and up close you could see that it was just simple buildings of a working Monastery. We enjoyed a short but nice tour from one of the monks. One of the things that was most impressive to us was that there were so many colorful Thanka paintings of Deities in their representative poses that lined every wall and crossbeam of the prayer room where young monks come to learn. They are so colorful by themselves, but in a prayer room displaying a collage of a hundred of them, even more so. We explored meditation niches that had been in use since the 12th century. They were basically 2 rock tunnels dug into the mountain, each having 3 or 4 small square chamber-like rooms off of the main tunnel. A small light (LEDs replaced candles now), prayer mat and pad on the floor, total silence and solitude as your tucked away well inside the mountain. When we got back to the bike it had been snowing for over an hour. One of the Monks followed us out with a broom to help sweep 2 inches of snow from the motorcycle.

The absolutely breathtaking prayer room is the only place in the monastery permitted to take photos.

From there we took the road less-traveled-by leading to Kibber. It was snowing harder at this point but it was safely melting as it hit the gravel and dirt road so slowly and surely we climbed the 8km of switchbacks through clouds, falling snow, sludgy muddy road to the top of the pass and up to the little village. Not a tourist village but just a simple mountain village at 13,730 ft.

Snowing and cloudy as we entered Kibber

We walked through the Main Street while big fluffy flakes snowed upon us and had the fresh mountain air to breath which was slightly perfumed by the smell of goat droppings and wet dog. Strangely, this is a familiar and actually comforting smell that reminds me of our trek through the Annapurna Circuit last year in Nepal. Lemon tea and Thantuk (hearty veg & flat noodle soup that Lacy introduced me to a month ago) for lunch in a local homestay was exactly what the day provided and it warmed our little souls. Just as we were starting to descend from the cute little mountain town, the sky cleared and the sun dried up the road a little for a scenic ride back to our home base of Kaza in between the giant Himalayas to our right and left.

The tea house/homestay where we enjoyed thentuk for lunch

Clearer skies for the ride back to Kaza


A look back on Kibber


The next post shows our favorite day of the entire ride in India!

Motorbiking Two Up In North India: Tabo to Kaza

Another gorgeous day of riding in the foothills of the Himalayas

Rob: Tabo to Kaza which we will use as a home base for a few days.

We took the time for a photo op on the way to Kaza at the gates entrance to Dhankargompa.  We wanted to ride the switchbacks to the top, but without having a rear brake it was simply too dangerous.

The same elevation we gained in the last 10km into Tabo, we quickly lost in the first 5km we road down the other side of the mountain still edging along the river. I mis-use the word mountain here because we have been riding between 10,000 – 13,000 ft for the last several days which in most of my lifelong orientation is a mountain but here with 25,000ft tall peaks above me, we are still really in the foothills of the giant Himalayas.

It was a rough road, but not dangerous since the elevation changes were steady, corners navigable and the rocks relatively flattened into the dirt by traffic to form a mountain cobblestone. Still, mid 3rd gear was about as much as we could muster over the bumps.

We arrived in Kaza some 2 1/2 hours later at 12,300ft after the continual climb along side the down rushing Spiti River. We never really gained a lot of elevation in any single climb at once and since we were constantly watching the river and the high snow covered mountains that framed the river valley 95% of the time I just didn’t notice the gain until we were here.

Riding in the high desert of the Himalayan foothills prompted me time reconsider how I protected my face on the bike.  I was using an SPF bandana on my lower face to protect from sun, dust and diesel, but feeling the increasing power of the sun of the remaining exposed parts of my face I opted for this new set up with a full SPF shawl I had with me.  Genius! Wish I would have been doing this from the start.

We arrive to the town and aim for the Travelers Shed since it is a landmark for Bikers, WiFi, good rooms and has an integrated Royal Enfield mechanic shop on the ground floor. We sorely needed some brake fixes and just a little connectivity to stay in touch with the world back home. Well… Then… The shop was closed, no rooms at the Inn, no electricity means no WiFi and we scrambled to make alternative plans.

Lacy secured us a simple room even in a touristy area about 200m away for just 1,200 Rupees per night with a balcony overlooking the village, the monastery, valley and up to the mountains. Perfect!

View to the left from our balcony

These words and face are on the mountain above, visible from far away.  We are not sure if it etched, burned, made of stones or something else.

I set out to fill the gas tank from the “Highest Petrol Station in the World” and find a mechanic. On my second try I found Lobzy’s tiny shop. A dirt and rock steep entry way lead to a 2m wide and 3m deep roll up metal doorway enclosing a small concrete pad enveloped in all his tools and spare parts. A half wall of which was piled with deformed and detonated engines ‘a la the scene from “Worlds Fastest Indian”. (A movie you need to see if you are a motorcycle person!)

The diagnosis was a rear brake line rubbed totally through and no brake fluid as I had suspected. We had lived and struggled with this issue since day 2 or 3 of our journey. He found a suitable replacement part and 4 hours later I was back on the road full of rear brake fluid, grip, stopping power and confidence.

While waiting for the repair, an older guy hanging around the micro-shop lended some of his advice and experience. “Half of locals crash. All foreigners crash.” was the general theme of our chat as he advised me on some things to remember about the conditions on the roads from his seat in the middle of a dozen mangled motorbikes being utilized for spare parts. It was reinforcing advice after our already difficult experiences and the many, many safety signs posted all along the roads proclaiming this “The most treacherous roadway on earth.”

Celebrating our arrival to Kaza with momos, masala papad, cold beers and a stunning view

It’s amazing to be here in Kaza above 12,000ft and still staring straight up at the surrounding snow capped mountains and mini glaciers. Kaza has been one of our big milestone goals to reach since we began planning this trip several months before now and setting off some 3 weeks ago.

With the new moon still hiding outside of the mountains, a million stars and the milky way are a regular part of our evening view.

Later the following day we made it back to the Travelers Shed for some Seabuckthorn Berry Juice to mix with the local Arak (moonshine) we had delivered to our room by our hotel guys. We also went from meeting no 2-Up couples to 2 couples who were on a quick trip to Kaza from Rishikesh which is about 3 full days ride each way. Way further than our typical daily Kms covered.

Our hotel had two dogs. I called this cutie “our puppy”  because he would always sleep outside our door and come running to me.

After one disappointing Tourist dinner we choose to find a totally local place to eat dinner on our second night in Kaza. We narrowed it down to two places along the Main Bazaar pedestrian road. Behind a nondescript storefront and behind a flag/banner doorway we made our way into a dimly lit room with 4 small tables, no view but a great savory aroma blowing in from the kitchen. No menus here but tonight everything was Mutton-based from Momos to a Tali plate. 2 Mutton Tali plates please!! Shortly later, our plates arrived with steaming rice, fresh cut cucumbers, whole chilis, chopped red onion and the Mother-of-all slow braised mutton with a very generous helping of heavy pan gravy. The ‘House of Mutton’ became the place’s quick nickname. 260 Rupees later we were in awe of the great quality of food for what equals about $3.60 US. Compare this to 500 Rupees for snacks earlier that day on a popular balcony or the same 500 for our previous Backpacker Special mixed veg dinner that wasn’t really very good at another popular place. BTW – All of names of these places are purposely withheld to protect the places we don’t care for but if any reader would like the directions to our favorites, don’t hesitate to write us!! Hotel Zangchuk where we stayed for five nights has a great staff lead by Manager, Ravinder and was really a great location… and we are happy to promote!


Two huge smiles after realizing that we stumbled into one of our best meals in India.  We dubbed this place ‘House of Mutton (lamb).’


Maybe not the best photo, but it represents our second night at ‘House of Mutton’ really well.   Giz watched on as I ran my fresh hot chappati through Mutton gravy.  Fresh onion, chili and cucumber accompany rice and chunks of meat.  All evidenced on this deck of cards that is looking worse for wear as it travels around the world with us.


View tiny the right from our balcony with the monastery pointed out.  More photos of this colorful and beautiful building below.

Sunday morning we listened to the chanting and music drifting down from the Tibetan Buddhist Temple near us. It is so calming and peaceful here. It’s one of the few times in my life when my body and mind can completely come to a restful place.

Kaza Monastery as shown in the photos above.

View out from the monastery with prayer flags flying in the breeze.

Lacy: As Rob mentioned, reaching Kaza was a big accomplishment. It’s a landmark city for bikers in the Himalaya region as they complete the Spiti Valley loop. Since Kunzum Pass, the highest part of the loop we need to traverse in order to complete the circle, is still closed due to record snow this year we will not be making a full loop. It could be weeks before it opens. Instead, we used Kaza as a hub to take unbelievably gorgeous day trips around the area. We have two posts to follow this that are dedicated to each day’s ride. The ride to Langza was my FAVORITE of the entire trip.

I love the juxtaposition of this colorful stupa against the brown desert mountain.

Kaza is a nice town surrounded by the snow peaked Himalayas. It is 100% a tourist destination crammed with hotels of all levels, shops selling shawls and trinkets and restaurants advertising western food. What you won’t find is cell service for more than phone calls. And honestly, Rob and I have no use for phone calls here so we were pretty disconnected. Actually, we had been out of touch since we left Pooh. The Shed has unreliable WiFi that did nothing more than connect to WhatsApp and occasionally Facebook or Messenger. No ability to load any webpages and it was probably for the best. While we couldn’t stay up to date on the blog, it was nice to have a break from our phones. The intermittent electricity that is provided to the Himalayan area didn’t bother us either as we didn’t have much need for it except the occasional warm shower in the evening and charging the camera battery when we could. Mostly we just soaked in the scenery that we had so tirelessly been riding towards day after day.

We love to see what elevation we are in as we climb through the mountains.  At 12,330ft we are still 4,400 ft lower than the highest that we have ever been.  That was when we hiked across Tharong La Pass on the Annapurna Circuit last year.

By the time we reached Kaza we had really hit our stride again and were enjoying our time flying through the mountains of India on a Royal Enfield and fulfilling dreams for each of us. I was snapping tons of photos off the back of the bike and cracking jokes with Rob as we rode. We were passing more fully geared up bikers like ourselves on the roads and sharing thumbs up and waves as we rode by one another, spreading encouragement.

I went into the market one morning and bought Rob a gift to thank him for all his hard work on the motorcycle, even through being injured, and keeping us safe. He was completely surprised and loved the acknowledgement.

Motorbiking Two Up In North India: Pooh to Nako


Rob: Looking out from the terrace of the OM Hotel and after we had someone  good strong coffees and an egg stuffed paratha for breakfast, it was time to saddle up the Royal Beast and aim further north to Nako.

It was a beautiful and cloudless day for a ride in the Himalayas and also one of the key reasons Lacy lugged her big heavy camera along our trip this season. We switchbacked our way down from the side of the mountain to rejoin one of the main roads that paralleled the Sutlej River. A river that over an immense timeframe, at this elevation, has created some truly severe canyons in the arid high desert mountains. Calculated irrigation makes for beautiful apple, cherry, apricot and almond orchards terraced into the canyon walls but otherwise the land barely supports seasonal grasslands, sagebrush and tiny scrub pines. A few mountain goats and sheep have replaced wandering cows the further we have climbed in elevation.


So, in a terrible turn of events the memory card that I used to take photos throughout what is one of the most gorgeous rides we have experienced is giving me an error message and I can’t get the photos off of it!! So frustrating because I snapped a ton of photos.  Pooh to Nako is when the high desert mountains and the snow covered Himalayas are married in the landscape and it is breath taking.  I may have to wait until we are home to recover the photos.  Good news is we snapped this photo on the phone when we stopped for a drink immediately before Nako.  Once in Nako I replaced the memory card with my backup card and we were full steam ahead again…minus the photos from this stunning ride.

The paved road feels good under the tires as we blow by small towns and Army Stations on twisty roads heading north. It is a very relaxing change from our previous segment when every inch of road was a battle. It’s a dream to be in 4th or 5th gear. We were really enjoying the ride through this part of the countryside.

We had mostly climbed above the tree line now, not that many trees could grow on the sheer rock faces and jagged cliff edges as we began to enter the Spiti Valley area. Dramatic cliff-sides of sharp stone framed our view in all directions. The bike was echoing Royal Enfield tunes inside the facing rock walls. We both commented how small we felt here because everything else seemed to be supersized.


This sticker wall makes up the facade of the building we stopped at for a refreshing beverage during the ride.  I love seeing all the stickers placed around establishments as we travel.  Rob and I comment that we should have a Modern Gypsy decal made before our next adventure.

We cross the river in a very narrow part of the canyon on a one lane bridge and the landscape begins to change. We now start to climb even higher through long steady switchbacks. The canyon walls open to a wide vista of valleys and mountains ahead. Our reasonably good road has turned to only crushed limestone and very fine sand. Switchback after switchback we climb very slowly and carefully. The rock is very loose and the sand so fine that the steering becomes incredibly heavy as our skinny front tire sinks in the sand and jerks every which way from the rocks.


This sign speaks volumes to me.

Just as my brain had begun to swell from the taxation of the ride up, we finished our climb to a spectacular view. Not just the mountains as far as you can see into Tibet, but sweet beautiful fresh pavement ahead. I could hear the Angels singing and the Monks chanting.

The next hours ride was as nice as the first except I wanted to stop and take pictures every 100m. Lacy calls it her National Geographic Photographer’s position where she is shooting from a perch off the back of the bike as I slow for her to get the money shots. Some for you and the blog but mostly for us to remember this amazingly picturesque portion of the ride. Neither of us have ever seen this far reaching a view across layers of white mountaintops.


Tandoori chicken, naan and cocktails to complete a great day…all while looking at this view…

img_2447Nako Lake makes up for its lack of size by being extremely high up in the mountains and in such a beautiful setting. The little village of Nako encircles the football field sized lake itself. Tanzin, our amazing host from Pooh, had called ahead to his friend Shanta, who runs a guesthouse and outdoor tent glamping resort in Nako. While we stayed in the budget oriented guesthouse for just 1,000 rupees, we ate like King & Queen at the resort area. Under a parachute canopy, overlooking the town lake and into the vast snow covered mountains, we relaxed with hand made lime, sugar and soda drinks from the restaurant. Lacy expertly spiked them with some Indian whiskey we had purchased just outside the town. Our whole cut up chicken was presented still smoking and steaming from the Tandoori oven’s blast furnace. The herb and heat from the spice was perfectly complimented by fresh butter and garlic naan bread. We spent about 5x what we typically would for dinner and savored every bite with “tears of spice and joy”!


The sunset…


….over the magnificent Himalayan village of Nako.

We watched the sun set, patted our full bellies, climbed down the hill to our room and said cheers a great day.


Mani stones in Nako 


Entrance to Nako Monastery

Lacy: Our intention leaving Pooh this morning was to return the following day to attend a huge Buddhist wedding Tanzin had invited us to.  We were really excited to have this opportunity, but as we began to climb the dirt and sand switchbacks to Pooh I leaned forward on the bike and asked Rob if we were going to be able to return safely on this road without a rear brake. Sadly, we both agreed it was not smart to come back without the bike being fixed and would need to heading forward to Kaza. We hoped we would see Tanzin again before leaving India because we didn’t really say goodbye, just see you later.


Walking through Nako village


Having coffee lakeside in front of our hotel before leaving to Tabo the next morning. 

Nickel cycled

Electricity shortages

Feeding my mountain heart

Importance of small gestures


Leaving Nako. Definitely a highlight of the ride.


Motorbiking Two Up In North India: Nako to Tabo

This ride is HEAVEN

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALacy: As we prepare this post to publish we are sitting by a bonfire, listening to Indian music and staring down at the twinkling lights of Manali at 8,300 ft. The surrounding Himalayan mountains are illuminated by the moon light. This post is from June 3rd as we are still catching up on the blog from when we were out of service. Since then we have finished the breathtaking Spiti Valley loop. Manali is our last stop in India before returning the bike in Chandigarh and catching a flight out of Delhi. A flight to where is yet to be decided…😊


We loved Tabo.  It’s a very small village surrounded around one of the oldest monasteries we have been to in which are the most beautiful interior Buddhist paintings we have ever seen.  We spent a lot of time walking inside by flashlight to see the art depicted on the walls before I sat to meditate in the prayer hall.  I have had the opportunity to meditate in some very special places here in India.

Rob: The road today was good, but the wind, from time to time, was strong enough to move us over a foot or 2 while riding along. It made the sound that goes along with our GoPro videos something in between unintelligible and a rock crusher. We had to keep our riding bandanas up tight over most of our faces today to protect against so much dust.

We are captivated by this high desert Himalayan landscape

Other than the occasional wild wind bursts, it was a nice ride as we followed river valley roads again and crossed through several lower mountain passes and alongside miles of orchards. Small villages along the way proudly displayed their welcome signs with populations ranging from 31 to 300. In between these villages that began and ended with apple and apricot trees lining the road, the high desert valley stretched out far in front of us. The road was dotted with a few cars, tourist vans and small groups of bikers making their way north just like we were. We have been asked a few times where the rest of our group is which gave us the chance to explain our un-pressured and unplanned journey, apart from the base loop that we were all making, through this section of the Himalayas.

Notice the road on the bottom left of the photo.  We are riding on the edges of the mountains and feeling free.

29CEE928-C0FA-485F-BBF4-12A387E76710.jpegWe made it to Tabo in the latter part of the afternoon with plenty of time to walk around Tabo Monastery grounds, have some tea and settle on a place to spend the night.


We really love the contrast of the patches of green against dry desert mountains.

When we checked into our room and the hotel manager brought a candle and saucer in for us, we guessed it meant that it might be awhile before the electricity turned on tonight.

The older Tabo Monastery

Turning prayer wheels at the new stupa near the new monastery in Tabo.

We had a great view of the local orchards and the Temple complex which makes up about 1/3 of the little village. Lacy picked up some tiny local limes, sugar and soda to go with our whiskey to make our own little cocktail hour like we had yesterday.

A second stupa.  I find stupas to be really beautiful.

We woke to a beautiful view again, had some horrible instant coffee and went back to visit the Temple. It has seen over 1,000 years of continual use as a Temple and teaching center for the Monks living and studying at the Monastery here. We entered the temple through its low doorway and after our eyes became more acclimated to the loss of light, began to marvel at the painted walls and ceilings. Almost all of the paintings remained as original frescos into the plaster walls. Only a little darkened by time, they still made us catch our breath. The Temple itself was cool and dry inside. The 20ft walls were very dimly lit from small louvered sunlights. All of the walls and ceilings were completely covered with depictions of Deities, many smiling Buddhas, storyboards and writings. Vibrantly painted statues of more Deities lined the main chamber. Meditation and prayer mats were laid out inside the central room for the faithful and visitors to pause and repeat daily mantras. It really is amazing that we can simply walk into these ancient Temples and feel the history, significance and spirituality of such a place.

This photo and the one below are from our balcony.  You can see a peek of snow covered mountain in the background and get scale of just how large the mountains look as they dwarf the monastery, stupa and local homes.

Motorbiking Two Up in North India: Sangla to Pooh

Rob: A 3-4 hour ride becomes a 10 hour endurance test of mind and body.

Setting off from Sangla this morning we stopped by the doctor again, shoved samosas in our faces for breakfast, took a deep breath and began the journey.  I like how this photo just so happens to be in front of a truck carrying bricks because there are bricks being made everywhere we have been in India – sides of road, in town and it is just as much a part of the surroundings as the mountains.

This was our most difficult day on the big thumping Royal Beast so far. Coming down from the Sangla Valley was a challenge on the rough sandy road without having a rear brake. I didn’t notice how difficult the ride was as we were chugging up the 3,000 feet or so of elevation that we were now descending. We are simply too heavy with the 500cc bike, gear bags and 2 up for the sole single disk front brake. Lacy had to hop off the back of the bike on a sandy downhill with no braking power or traction and also needed to bail off when we began sliding backwards at one point when we got stopped behind a bus on a sharp uphill climb.

Looking back on Sangla

It was also our longest day of traveling beginning mid-morning and arriving at our destination an hour or so after dark. In that time we overcame a number of “roadblocks”. Lacy persevered through government apathy to extend our Inner Line Permits in a record time of 1 1/2 hours overcoming the “service-charge” culture to get what is supposed to be a free extension. Then we spent two hours waiting out the bulldozer clearing and TNT blasting of a landslide that filled the road with house sized boulders. Here we stopped along side a great group of bikers from Delhi on their annual trip. Five guys all  in their Royal Enfield gear, kitted up RE Bullet bikes complete with matching Indian flags flying from the rear of their gear packs. It was great to chat with them about each of our trips and took the edge off some of the frustrations we’ve had along the way thus far. The road itself was heavily trafficked with seriously large construction and Army trucks, 4x4s, cars and motorcyclists like us. It was the toughest terrain so far as we battled and rattled along slowly in second gear picking the best line through rubble. My arms and shoulders burned from the constant attention needed to keep the front tire as straight as possible while riding along the edge of the cliffside. Most trucks and 4x4s gave us little to no room, blowing us to and over the edges of the drivable area often. Craggy carved-out rock wall to one side and sheer drop off to the churning river 1,000ft below on the other.

I found myself a shady spot on some rocks on the side of the road and was in pretty good spirits while waiting for the blast to clear.

We parked beside the other Royal Enfields in the backup for the blasting.  The benefit of being a motorcycle is that you can scoot to the front of the massive line that piles up on the mountain road.

At one point we came upon a 200m long wooden bridge that spanned one river as it met another. Without slowing much we headed across thinking that so many vehicles used this bridge daily so it must be pretty safe despite it’s ragged appearance. I’m glad I paid quick and close attention to the wood planks because the gaps in between them were big enough to trap our front wheel completely and where boards butted against each other, several spaces where they connected previously were simply missing altogether.


Is this old wooden bridge adorned in prayer flags because you need to pray you don’t get your front tire stuck in one of the many gaping holes as you cross???

It was truly a battle of nerves and willpower as day turned to dusk on the canyon road and then quickly into a very very dark night. No moon. Taillights ahead showed us some of the future turns. With headlights blinding us, the trucks ground up suffocating dust and glare. Sometimes we had to just get as far to the edge as we dared and stop to let them pass by inches away while we held our breath from the dust, diesel exhaust and just our own nerves of not really knowing what was about to happen. Two of our three stream crossings today came at night with blind faith to what was below the surface of the water and how deep it would go before we came up the other side. One was fully up to my mid shin but the surprise was how cold the water was against my skin. We are in the foothills of the snow-covered Himalayan Mountains and even though we are in a canyon following alongside a river, we are still at 8,000-9,000 ft so I guess I shouldn’t have been so shocked at the ice cold wake-up call splashing against my legs.


This and the photo below give you an idea of the dense traffic that was trying to move across the narrow mountain road after the blast cleared.  Bumper to bumper with a steep drop off to the river on one side (with no guardrail) and a rock mountainside on the other. Driving on this as night was a little less than fun.


I shot this backwards over my head.  The car behind us would be right on our tail (as they always are) but it can’t get past truck next to it.  This scene is extremely common along the mountain roads.

Lacy, still the bestest, cutest navigatress on earth, finally announced the upcoming turn that would begin our climb to the town of Pooh. Just less than a dozen switchbacks and 3km away from turning the bike’s key off for the day. I hoped I had just enough mental strength left in me to reach our hotel at the top of the last climb in total darkness. Lit by minimal light from our dust covered headlight we made our way into the main part of the town. Almost as soon as we saw the sign for the OM Hotel, we also heard voices calling our names. Lacy hopped off the bike to let me maneuver better. We quickly shook hands with our host and parked the bike for the night.

Switchbacks from NH 5 to Pooh – the homestretch.  This photo was taken on the way of Pooh as when we arrived it was pitch black.

Pooh clings to the cliff side of dramatically angled canyon. We could hear the rushing river far below us. The small white lights of Pooh and it’s sister villages dotted the mountainside. Stars, Venus and red twinkling Mars above us. I knew higher mountains surrounded us but they would wait until sunrise to reveal themselves. Without a moon and in such a steep and narrow canyon, it was the blackest night we had seen for some time.

The next morning we were feeling ourselves again after being welcomed Tanzin to his beautiful Om Hotel.  This view from the terrace (and our balcony below) made us feel like tiny ants among the massive mountains.


Our once dreadfully dirty riding clothes that we washed out are drying on the deck while we play cards, eat breakfast and enjoy the last bit of cellular service we will have for two weeks.

Tanzin, our host, had a table set up for us on his large rooftop patio, lounge and restaurant.  After cleaning off as much dust and dirt of ourselves as we could in a hurry we joined him for some amazing Arak made by his aunt from his family’s local apple orchard. A pretty potent apple based moonshine. It was a great way to end a tiring day with spirited conversation and great food from his kitchen. Chili chicken, spicy Dal and Roti was washed down with more Arak and all shared tales of our past, present and future travels. Tanzin’s warm welcome was, well … very welcomed and truly appreciated.

Our room is on the Eastern corner of his family home turned into a hotel. I awoke with all the windows and drapes wide open to see the soft blue light of the sunrise on the snowy Himalayas. Another great reward for our efforts getting here.


Lacy: To say that today, our first day back on the bike after nursing Rob’s sprained ankle, was the most nerve-racking, tense and dangerous feeling day I have ever had on a motorcycle would sum it up pretty accurately. To be clear, neither one of us would take the risk of getting back on the bike without feeling 100% comfortable with Rob’s ability to ride, but having just had an “incident” and still being without a rear brake in addition to knowing we had to go back out of Sangla on a dirt road on the side of a mountain with aggressive drivers and ya da ya da we could each feel how tense the other was as soon as we embarked on the day’s journey. I may not have taken a breath for the first hour. Getting our Inner Line Permit extension in Reckong Peo so that we could enter Kaza was yet another moment of wanting to tear my hair out as I had to bite my tongue and be quietly persistent to have our permit extended. We were told that it could easily be done once we showed the X-ray of Rob’s foot and if it hadn’t been for one sweet soul in the office who wanted to help us by doing the right thing we would have been turned away to pay the bribe around the corner again. No one wanted to do the very job they are employed to do unless they got a kickback. At the end of the process I looked the man who helped me in the eyes and told him I appreciated his help and kindness. And with that we unknowingly set off on the most gut wrenching part of our ride. Being stuck for two hours on the road for the blast clearing wasn’t so bad, however the fact that it set us back to being stuck in a ridiculous amount of bumper to bumper aggressive Indian traffic on the side of a sheer drop off on the side of a mountain in the dark was unbelievably scary. Having to jump off the bike twice today while it was moving because the rear brake isn’t working was equally as scary. Hands down the most frightening day on a bike ever and Rob is my HERO for keeping us safe. I honestly am in awe of him. But let me tell you this – the universe gives you just what you need and arriving to Pooh into the warmth of Tanzin’s hospitality was just the uplift of spirit that was required. He is one a million and made a complicated and frustrating day all the worthwhile.

A beautiful pre-dawn blue washes over Pooh.

Motorbiking Two Up in North India: An unanticipated extended stay in Sangla

Rob: If you have noticed a gap in our posts there a few reasons. As I write, we have been riding for the last 14 days and all is well. We have been writing a lot, eating everything in sight, drinking very good and very bad apple moonshine, visiting unbelievable Temples and making great new friends. The GoPro is full of amazing videos of the ride and Lacy has hundreds of pictures to sort through. For much of the time recently we have been without any reliable connectivity to our phone data or any WiFi. We are so far up in the mountains now that no phone service or WiFi is a normal way of life even in larger villages.

We did have a small motorcycle incident in Sangla in May 20th that sidetracked us for 11 days. We had been riding without a rear brake on the bike for the previous 3 days searching for a mechanic and available part. Each village we came to seemed to send us to the next. As we were set to leave Sangla we ventured down a little side road that was mostly paved but very steep and covered with sand. As we began to slide with the front brake locked up and beginning to gain speed, I choose to edge the bike into a brush and rock retaining wall versus continue to slide down or worse slide to the right which was a sheer drop off. The bike came out of the slide just fine, but Lacy and I both got twin skinned elbows and knees from the wall. My foot, however was pinched and badly sprained. It was immediately very painful having effected the same leg I had broken this last winter and is still in the process of healing. We received help from four amazing guys who lived below where we went down. They took me for X-rays at the local clinic, helped us get the bike off the slope and it and our gear to a hotel which all really helped lessen the blow from what was a small nightmare. Eleven days of our trip down the drain waiting for me to heal enough to ride. At least I had a pretty amazing view from our hotel window. The two young guys who seemingly worked 24 hours a day at the Hotel Prakash fed me lots of hot coffee and sweet yogurt Lassis. Lacy was my true hero by keeping my spirits up, letting me win at cards, following along as I watched old Storage Wars reruns and braving the stares at the local market to bring us home cooked food from the woman she made friends with in town, beers, sweets and even new matching comfy sweatpants. She made a shitty and painful situation bearable.

Lacy: Sangla, a valley nestled between towering Himalayan mountains and situated at an elevation of 8,900ft is a lovely place to spend an extended period of time. Riding on the motorcycle is an adventure all to itself here in India, but sometimes I long to stretch my legs and venture deeper into the scenery I am whizzing past. Fortunately, I was able to find a guide who was between multi-day hikes and would be able to accompany me into higher elevation. Rob and I agreed that he was going to need several days if not longer to heal and I should take advantage of the down time to hike while he rested. Trying to make the best of a shitty situation. We met at Hotel Prakash early in the morning, where Rob and I had practically moved into, before walking to the market where we purchased food for the journey. I have definitely taken notice when hiking with guides in Asia that there is far less emphasis on carrying lightweight food or gear. We are bringing a porter who will carry some of the food, along with Sadish, my guide. At home, when Rob and I venture on long distance hikes we are always extremely conscious of every ounce we put in our pack, food included, as we need to carry every little bit on our backs for days on end. For a two day hike I would easily eat energy bars, sandwiches and fruit, but didn’t complain that I was cooked hot meals with warm tea all over a heavy portable gas burning stove during this Himalayan hike. All part of a different experience.

From the market we began our ascent to Sangla Kanda which is an agricultural area above the village that is used during the summer. In winter there is far too much snow to live there comfortably. It was a beautiful walk through the village noticing the architecture of the homes and temples. Bittersweet it was as I wanted to share all of this with Rob. I knew he would appreciate every little thing right along with me, but was happy that I could go and come back and recount my adventures to him. I tried my hardest to remember all the things I saw along the way. After hiking several hours through apple, apricot and almond trees we set up camp in a meadow near a herd of cows that overlooked the lake and the snow covered mountains we would climb into the next morning to reach Rupin Pass.

What a campsite!

Saw lots of yaks and chur (a cow-Yak hybrid)

Hundreds of sheep grazing

Before dinner I was privilege to a superb view of the entire Sangla valley encompassing 15 villages, including where Rob resided and would later hear all about the yak, sheep, wild irises and strawberries, dwarf juniper and rhododendrons I had committed to memory for him. The temperature dropped that evening and I curled myself up tight in the sleeping bag to stay warm before waking at 5am to begin a full day hike at 6:30. It was another stunningly gorgeous Himalayan morning with blue skies and twittering birds. Shaking my sleepiness off, I came alive as I climbed the mountain and by the time we began to cross snowy paths I was fully alert. And it’s a good thing I was because this new terrain was challenging me. I haven’t had a ton of experience hiking in the snow. Mostly in the Sierras during our 2017 Pacific Crest Trail hike and I used crampons then. Now I just had the grip of my Salomon hiking shoes and a lot of expertise guidance from Sadish. In the beginning, my nerves were getting to me as we traversed snowy patches across steep drop-offs. I have slipped down snowbanks before and tried to push those thoughts out of my head and confidently move forward feeling safe as I hiked.

This is just a small piece of the snowy traverses. It rattled my nerves

The snow was taking a toll on my legs and making them more tired than they would be normally. After taking a break we hiked straight up the side of a snowy mountain. This really pushed me. I had only ever done something like this with crampons and certainly didn’t have the skills to feel confident about this ascent. Sadish was an excellent guide and taught me a technique to duck-walk up the mountain in just my shoes. Being a novice, this was still a difficult task for me to succeed in and eventually he pounded each step into the snow for me to follow behind him and held my hand (upon my nervous request) as we climbed up the snowy side. When we reached the top I dropped my pack, looked down from where we came and marveled at the fact that I was on the top side of the ridge. Wow. We continued forward toward Rupin Pass at 15,250 ft., but as it was beginning to snow and my pace was not nearly as quick in the snow we opted to only go as far as Base Camp.

Resting at Rupin Pass Base Camp as it begins to snow.

Sitting on a rock I watched other hikers come down from the Pass as I ate a buckwheat pancake and rested for the return to camp. Fortunately, I was feeling much more confident crossing the snow on the way back. Increased confidence, heading downhill v. up and being able to glissade (slide on my butt) down the same slope Sadish held my hand to climb up earlier made the return a little quicker. The snow, however, turned into rain and we were rather wet by the time we reached camp. Quickly packing up the tents we completed our hike back down to Sangla with the skies eventually clearing. Returning to the hotel at 6pm I rid myself of the sweaty, muddy clothes I donned the previous two days for my reward of a big fat smooch from Rob to complete my 11 1/2 hour hiking day. It was a wonderful time being in the mountains and soaking in a little more of India, witnessing the untouched beauty of the Himalayan region that can’t be accessed by vehicle. Leaving only footprints and taking only photos and memories I was deeply satisfied.

Reachable by walking a few kilometers from the market area and through the local village is Bering Nag Temple. This is a Hindu temple that shares a complex with a Buddhist monastery. Seeing the two side by side, sharing the same space, exemplifies life in Sangla where the two religions coincide. The complex has four gates, one on each side, which I am told is to signify that the holy space remains open to everyone, regardless of faith. It’s truly one of the most beautiful temple spaces I have laid eyes on to date. The Tibetan wood carving, prayer flags blowing in the wind, pastel Buddhist paintings beside carved painted dragons, gates bearing Om, and prayer wheels all lay against the magnificent backdrop of the snow covered peaks and tall pine trees.

Even with all the good moments we have had in India it hasn’t been all momos and masala chai. We have been privy to some really heartwarming personal interactions with locals as well as some that are unsettling. We are traveling during the peak of the local Indian tourist season. School is out and families are coming by the truck loads (seriously) up to the mountains for a little R&R. We began to notice a few things about Indian tourists even as early as our flight here from Indonesia. Now, I want to preface before continuing any further and sounding like I am stereotyping, being judgmental or unfair in my assessments that these conclusions are all born from personal experience. Some of which has become a little trying and a bit of a turn off from the overall joy of being in India. We do like to keep this blog positive, but also real. And I think that being aware of some of these cultural differences between Americans (and perhaps others) and Indians can be useful when traveling here. It began on the flight here when we noticed the flight attendants becoming increasingly aggravated by the constant demands from Indian fliers. Without being able to even understand all of what was transpiring it was clear that there was far more drama than either of us had ever witnessed on a flight. We were a bit in awe, to be honest, and didn’t realize at the time that this was just a glimpse of what lay ahead as the plane touched down. We only started to notice the following as we began to be tourists alongside Indian tourists. One of the things you simply can’t ignore is the difference in what is “normal” behavior at a hotel. Much of what we see would get you kicked out of a hotel in America and after dealing with it for weeks we have become able to handle in our own ways. Hotel guests use the hallway as an extension of their room having extremely loud conversation at all hours of the pre-dawn and night, kids play ball against the walls and run up and down the halls buzzing the room service bells for each room. Room doors remain open where loud television news, conversations and more seep through the very thin walls of hotels. The acceptable volume is way above a typical traveling American is used to and is admittedly obnoxious at times. There seems to be very little consideration of other guests. Room service, an expensive luxury back home, is expected at every hotel here. For reasons we haven’t figured out yet, many people seem to prefer eating in their rooms versus in the public dining space. It’s extremely affordable to do so being as there is no additional fee compared to what is served in the hotel restaurant. Second to the very loud voices, often screaming, used by men and women in public spaces at all hours is the invasion of privacy. Let’s be clear, when you travel in Asia you should always expect to have little to no personal space. This is a fact of East v. West and is no longer a big deal for us. What is is the fact that grown men have repeatedly walked and creeped into our hotel room in an effort to, what we believe, is peep on me. Not once. Not twice. But almost half a dozen times. We have left the door unlocked several times for room service or when one of us is going in and out and inevitably a man comes into our room. It’s not an accident. They know their room. And ours is very obviously the last room in the hallway. We think it was because they saw me coming and going on my own as Rob has been laid up and thought I was a single lady. This combined with a lot of unwanted attention I received in town walking alone made it very difficult for me by the time we left Sangla. This wasn’t something I anticipated and it wore me down a bit, but Rob and I leaned on each other as we were each struggling in our ways, and decided to keep moving on our journey through Himachal Pradesh to continue our Himalayan experience.

We prepared many posts as we were with little to no service for nearly two weeks and have more Modern Gypsy Tales coming your way!